Lauren Mitchell and Michael the “Professor” Hensley in a Whole New Light…
by Laurie Mirkin
I was so enthralled and gratified to be sitting about 10 ft. away from Lauren Mitchell and Mike Hensley, (more respectfully known as “Mike the Professor”) who were playing at the Blue Rooster last night. The atmosphere was perfect…from the sublime “low” lighting to the acoustics, perfect is the word that comes to mind.
We had a beer and some great fried green tomatoes and macaroni and cheese…good comfort food prepared, as we used to say, “so well that it made you wanna slap yo’ mama”! So the mix was great food, superlative entertainment, and an ambience that was so laid back and perfect that I felt like I was experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
We were lucky enough to get to talk to Lauren and Mike between sets and couldn’t compliment them enough on their choice of music. Some old standards, some bluesy love songs, and delivered as only Lauren can…a combination of sassy, classy, and all woman. They played “Please Come Home” off their new album, which Mike wrote. Mike is so talented and I didn’t know till today that he writes music and lyrics.
Also memorable were their renditions of Nora Jones’ “Come Away With Me, “Little by Little” by Junior Wells, and “Angel from Montgomery by John Prine. What can you say about Mike? He’s among the finest keyboardists up and down the coast of Florida and beyond. What I was watching was how humble he is, on and off stage. No one plays keyboards like Mike. He finesses the keys, has complete control over them, but he does it with such ease that you just have to watch in a state of wonder.
I really hadn’t planned on going out last night, having attended a friend’s wedding earlier and just having my Sunday-nap- laziness setting in. I would have missed so much had I stayed home. It was so laid back, so enjoyable. Lauren doesn’t just sing a song, she makes love to it, like Mike does to his keyboard. It was personal…so much more than a full band in a venue where you’re too far away to “get it”. By “it”, I mean the magnetism and the professionalism that I could reach out and touch…Mike and Lauren rocked our world last night.
We know you’re going to want more of the Lauren Mitchell Band, so log onto their website: www.laurenmitchellband.com for their latest gigs, biographical information, and how to get their new CD with more original songwriting and lyrics by the Professor and the band. Thanks for giving us a night to remember!